Can anybody explain to me an issue I have with the Immaculate Conception of Mary and free will. If the Catholic church believes that all people have free will and it believes that Mary was Immaculately Conceived, then did Mary really have free will in her choice to be the Mother of Jesus. In other words, if she was chosen to be the mother of God at her conception did she really have the free will to choose on her own?
I’m not sure how you’re making the connection between one and the other.
God bestowed upon Mary a grace – she was born without the stain of original sin.
At the moment of the Angel Gabriel’s apparition, she had as much free choice as anyone else to say “no, thank you.” I’m not sure how sin increases or decreases your ability to make this choice freely, as free will has to do with the temptation of sin (which is why Jesus was still tempted in the desert, but made the choice not to give into Satan’s demands).
Like Adam and Eve before the fall Mary had free will and were free from sin. If Adam and Eve were then able to reject God, there is no reason Mary could not do the same.
Actually, she was chosen from all eternity:
488 “God sent forth his Son”, but to prepare a body for him, he wanted the free co-operation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, “a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary”:
The Church teaches:
490 To become the mother of the Saviour, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.” The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”. In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.
I suggest this section of the Catechism:
Mary was immaculately conceived because of her response to the angel. Remember that God knows what our decisions will be even though we have not made them yet. This does not influence our decisions since it is by our own choice that we make our decisions.
God knew from the beginning of time that Mary would say “yes” to the angels declaration. So, he gave her the singular special grace of being conceived immaculately in her mother’s womb to be a fit dwelling for His son, Jesus. Mary was always free to say “no,” but God knew that she would say “yes.”
It is a little mind boggling, isn’t it!!!
Good question I look forward to the answers on this.
yes, she had free will, but God knew what she’d say. Was she born without original sin, I don’t think so. Adam and Eve were born without original sin and then they had to sin.
Right there is pretty much the answer.
Grace or the absense of the stain of original sin, does not mean a person is incapable of committing sin.
Like Marty said, Adam and Eve BOTH had all the grace they needed to live sinless lives and yet they still fell into it.
So grace does not eliminate freewill.
One could say that without the Stain of Original Sin, Mary was “full of grace” and therefore Sin had much less of a hold on her… less of a temptation or allure. It was easier for her to see sin as exactly that and avoid it. But she still had free will and it was by her choices that she didn’t fall into sin when the Angel came to her.
She also had free will to NOT follow God, but because of her state of grace, she obeyed God and accepted her role as “Theotokos” - ‘God bearer’ aka “Mother of God”
Just like we ALL are in a state of grace when we leave the confessional or when we were first Baptized. We received super natural grace and it is easier to avoid sin. We still can, however…but grace means that sin has less of, or no hold on us. But it does not eliminate free will or make us robots.
Catholics simply believe that God applied this saving grace to Mary at conception, rather then later, as is his choice, as God.
She then remained in this state when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her and called her “Kecharitomene” - which is a unique title given to no one else in the bible and means “highly favored by God” or more loosely translated “full of grace”
Adam and Eve didn’t have to sin. They chose to.
Actually Mary was born without original sin. . .that is what is meant by the term Immaculate Conception.